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of his commandments shall be fighted : and he that loves his neighbour, will much more love the “ House“ hold of faith,” Well may such be true Christians, when their faith in Christ works by love, by the power of this divine power: he that dwells in this love, dwells in God, (if John say true) for he is LOVE. " And in as this he recommended his love unto us, that he sent « his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in 66 him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Also, herein did Christ manifest his love, in laying down his life for us. “ This is my commandment,” faid Chrift, « that ye love one another, as I have loved "s you: and greater love hath no man than this, that « a man lay down his life for his friends; ye are my « friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” Indeed he gave his life for the world, and offered up one common facrifice for mankind : : « And by this " one offering up of himself, once for all, he hath for “ ever perfected,” that is, quitted and discharged, and taken into favour, " them that are sanctified;" who have received the spirit of grace and fanctification in their hearts; for such as resist it, receive not the benefit of that facrifice, but damnation to themselves.
This holy offering-up of himself by the eternal spirit, is a great part of his Mesahship; for therein he hath both confirmed his blessed message of remission of fins, and life everlasting, to as many as truly believe in his name, and hath given himself “ a propitiation " for all that have sinned, and thereby come short of « the glory of God :" Insomuch that God is said, by the apostle Paul, to be « just, and the justifier of « him which believeth in Jesus, whom God hath set « forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his « blood, to declare his righteousness for the remis“ fion of sins that are past, through the forbearance " of God.”
91 John iv. 16.
" John xv. 12, 13, 14. Rom. iji. 25, 26, 27.
Unto wlrich I shall join his mediatorship or advocacy, linked together both by the apostle of the Gentiles, and the beloved disciple John: the first in these words;" U " For there is one God, and one Mediator " between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who « gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due « time.” The apostle John expresseth it thus : " « My little children, these things write I unto you, " that you sin not; and if any man finneth, we have « an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righ« teous; he is the propitiation for our sins, and not " for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole « world.” So that, to be brief, the Christian creed, so far as it is declaratory, lies eminently in a confession of these particulars : of the divine authority of the New, as well as of the Old Testament writings, and particularly of these great, general, and obvious truths therein expressed ; to wit, Of God and Christ, his ( miracles, doctrine, death, resurrection, advocate
fhip or mediation, the gift of his light, fpirit or grace: of faith, and repentance from dead works
unto remission of fins, keeping his commandments, ( and lastly, of eternal recompence.'-Less, once, than all this, would have done; and it does not shew the age more Chriftian, but more curious, indeed more infidel, to be sure more captious and froward, that there is this stir made about external creeds of communion : for distrust of brethren, and incredulity among Christians, are no small signs of their decay of faith towards God: “ From the beginning it was not a fo.”
But it may be here objected, “How shall we know " that such a declaration of faith is sincere ??
I answer, "By recurring to that evidence which God
shall give us."* They that can try Spirits, under the most Meep-like clothing, have the most immediate and certain proof; and such an one there is, by the favour and relish the spirit of God gives, to them that
* 1 John iv.
have it, of the spirits of men : but ler it fuffice, that Christ hath told us,' " By their fruits we shall know " them. If any man,” says Christ, « will come after " me, let him take up his cross, and follow me:". and in another place he tells us thus : “ My sheep so hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow “ me;" that is, they are led by my spirit, they live my life, they obey my doctrine, they are of my own nature. And the apostle Peter afsures us,a i That < true faith purifies the heart; and no impurity can < flow from a pure heart. You may know this faith by that way by which Abraham's faith was known to be true, to wit, obedience. “He believed God;" that is, he obeyed God; he submitted to the will of God, and relied upon his goodness : as if he had said, and he said it doubtless to hiinself,' . He that gave me "my son by a miracle, can work another to save him: i to God all things are possible.' It is called by the apostle Paul, « The spirit of faith;” something more near and inward, than any external articles and declarations of faith : that from whence all true confersions and good works came ; which made the apostle Paul thus to say, ' “ We give thanks to God always « for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, « remembering, without ceasing, your work of faith.”
It was this true faith, that brings forth works of righteousness, by which “ Abel offered to God, Enoch « was translated, Noah was saved.” It is said of him, " that he became the heir of the righteousness which « is by faith.” By this faith Abraham left his own country, and obeyed the voice of God. « By faith " Mofes was preserved from his childhood; and when o he came to years, refused to be called the son of « Pharoah's daughter; by faith he forsook Egypt, and « passed the Red Sea. By faith the walls of Jericho « fell down, and Rahab was saved. By faith Gideon, a Barak, Sampson, Jephtha, David, Samuel, and the
9 Mat. xvi. 24. ? John X. 27..Acts xv. 9. Rom. iv. : 2 Cor. iv, 13. di Thef, i, 2, 3.
« prophets, fubdued kingdoms, wrought righteous“ ness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of " lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the " edge of the sword;"e with much more too large to be uttered here.
This is that faith, which the apostle James magnifies against all false faiths ;' « Faith,” says he, « if it « has not works, is dead. A man may say, thou hast « faith, and I have works; shew me thy faith without « thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my 4 works.” And as if he had foreseen the pother made by the men of creeds and articles, he speaks on this wise; “ Thou believest that there is one God; « thou dost well; the devils also believe and tremble. 46 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith with« out works is dead? Was not Abraham, our father, « justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son « upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with « his works ? And by works was faith made perfeet. « And he was called the friend of God.” Very notable and informing is that expression of his, « The devils o also believe and tremble;” and as if he had faid, « The devil believes, as well as you; and trembles (too, which is more. This shows there is a faith that is not the true faith, and that not with relation to the matters believed, but the spirit of the mind in believing: for the devils believe the truth literally; but their faith works not by love, no more than their knowledge by obedience, and therefore it does them no good, and is not the true faith. O that Christendom would lay this very one thing to heart! But I must proceed.
The exhortation of the apostle Peter is a farther and plain discrimination of true faith : 8 " And besides this, e giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and « to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge tem« perance, and to temperance patience, and to pa
• Heb. xi.
James ii. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. & 2 Pet. i. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
« tience godliness, and to godliness brotherly-kind5.ness, and to brotherly-kindness charity. For if " these things be in you, and abound, they make « you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful " in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But « he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see * far off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from « his old sins:" as if he had said, they have forgot where they begun, that think they can be Christians without a life of holiness.
I will seal up these scripture testimonies of faith, with that account which is given us by the apostle John, « For whatsoever is born of God overcometh
the world, and this is the victory that overcometh ď the world, even our faith. Who is he that over« cometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus « is the Son of God ?” So that the belief in the Son of God must have this evidence to prove it a true belief in God's account, that by it men are born of God and overcome the world :i wherefore their faith is false whom the world overcomes : “ I am not of this world,” faith Christ Jesus ; neither can that faith be, that is rightly called the faith of the Son of God.
There are three passages left upon record by this beloved disciple of Jesus, of great weight and importance to us : when he had discoursed of the propitia. tion and advocateship of Christ, he does immediately add ;k " And hereby do we know that we know him, « if we keep his commandments. He that faith I « know him, and keepech not his commandments, « is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso “ keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God « perfected ;. hereby know we that we are in him. • He that saith, he abideth in him, ought himself also « so to walk, even as he walked.”
The second passage, very pertinent to this matter, is in the next chapter;' « My little children, let us
!John v. 4, 5. i John xiv. 17. & 1 John ii. 3, 4, 5, 6. i John ïïie 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.